On October 5, the 39th Annual National PAL Boxing Championships were held in Oxnard, CA. Two members of the 2012 Olympic Team, Bronze Medalist, Marlene Esparza and Queen Underwood competed in the tournament. Esparza won the 112 pound elite final by besting Sacred Downing. Underwood lost in the 132 pound elite semi-final to 2012 Olympic Alternate, Mikaela Mayer who went on to defeat Melissa Parker in the finals. Mayer gained the distinction of being named Best Female Boxer Overall of the tournament. Third time is a charm for Mayer who twice lost to Underwood in the first-ever women’s U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in 2012.
|Irish Fans Are Smiling|
ELITE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT WINNERS:
106# Maureeca Lambert, Glen Ellyn, IL.
112# Marlene Esparza, Houston, TX.
119# Jaime Mitchell, Salinas, CA.
125# Tiara Brown, Hyattsville, Md.
132# Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, CA.
141# Lisa Porter, North Ridge, CA.
152# Fallon Farrar, Army
165# Raquel Miller, San Francisco, CA.
On November 30, Katie Taylor returns to action in her home town of Bray, Ireland, against top-notch European competition in the form of Finland’s Mira Potkonen. Last summer, she drew more than 20,000 fans to her post-Olympic homecoming. As Taylor continues her “The Road to Rio” campaign, she secured her fifth consecutive European Union title earlier this year by besting Estelle Mossely of France.
Taylor is ranked #1 in the world by the AIBA.
A look back at October 2013 in women’s boxing:
|La Pantera Farias shows Mary McGee no mercy|
In Gent, Belgium, the current WIBF lightweight champion, and former IBF and EBU lightweight title holder, Delfine Persoon, 134 ½, Roeselare, Belgium, won an eight-round unanimous decision victory (80-71/80-71/80-72) over Irma Balijagic Adler, 134 ½, Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina. Persoon, the KO Digest’s #12 pound-for-pound female boxer has developed into an excellent puncher with the right hand stopping six of her last ten opponents. As accomplished a puncher that Persoon has developed into, Adler failed to get out of the first round in June 2012 against Farias.
|Persoon vs Farias soon?|
On October 5 in Incheon, South Korea, in front of a hometown crowd, Ji-Hyun Park, 102, defended her IFBA minimumweight title for the fourteenth time with a ten-round unanimous decision victory (96-95/98-92/97-94) over the hard-punching Juejeath “Bad Girl” Nagaowa, 102, Anyang, South Korea by way of Philippines. With the win, Park moves to (19-2, 5 KOs) and is quietly 7 ½ years into her reign as a minimumweight champion.
Nagaowa drops to (12-13-1, 8 KOs) with the loss.
|Slick Southpaw Ashley|
On the undercard, twenty-year-old future flyweight star, Kenia Enriquez (8-0, 4 KOs) Tijuana, Mexico, won a six-round decision over Kareli Lopez (5-5-1, 1 KO) also of Tijuana. Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea (25-2, 11 KOs) Ventura, California, by way of the Bronx, NY, won a six-round unanimous decision over Lesly Morales (3-4-1, 0 KOs) Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Shea, a former NABF and interim WBC featherweight champion, is possibly best known for being the main sparring partner for Hilary Swank in her preparation for her academy award winning performance in the movie, “Million Dollar Baby.”
|Ava Knight is defeated by Mexico's La Roca|
That nickname took a hit as did Knight during the ten rounds of fast-paced action. Zamora backed up her bold statements executing her fight-plan against the taller and longer American - evading, countering, and bullying Knight around the ring. Fighting at 108 lbs for only the second time of her career, Knight, who has fought for world titles at flyweight, super-flyweight, and bantamweight appeared sluggish and had difficulty establishing anything in the early rounds that would discourage Zamora from landing counter power punches at an alarming rate. After the slow start, Knight of Chico, CA., was competitive in the second half, avoiding a shutout on the score cards (98-92/97-94/97-93). With the win, Zamora vaults into the P4P discussion and Knight remains a known commodity in and around flyweight.
A look ahead to November 2013 in women’s boxing:
|Kika vs Machine Gun|
Mucino, the former IBF female flyweight and WBA (interim) female flyweight title holder, is a high volume, midrange hook artist, which after the opening bell, is throwing punches in bunches. Against A-level competition, she more than holds her own defeating Melissa McMorrow (SD-10), and losing to Mariana Juarez (SD-10). Mucino was leading on the cards after three rounds when battling the long-time champion, Susi Kentikian until a clash of heads prematurely ended the fight resulting in a no-decision. Ava Knight starched her in two rounds in October 2011. The loss remains the only eyesore on an otherwise impressive record. This fight will be televised by Mexico Televisa. Mucino’s battle with Juarez enjoyed double digit ratings which is a testament to the popularity of women’s boxing in Mexico.
On November 13, at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan, the former WBC minimumweight champion Naoko Fujioka (10-0, 6 KOs) Tokyo, moves up in weight to challenge reigning WBA super-flyweight champion, Naoko Yamaguchi (22-3-3, 18 KOs) also of Tokyo. A former Japanese amateur champion, Fujioka, in 2009, turned professional at the late age of thirty-four requiring only 20 months and six professional fights to win the WBC female minimumweight title. In March, after two successful defenses, she knocked out trial horse Maribel Ramirez (KO-4) at the flyweight limit of 112 pounds after finding it difficult to find suitable opponents at minimumweight. Most recently, Fujioka vacated the WBC female minimumweight title and accepted the challenge of Yamaguchi. Known as a brutal puncher, Fujioka owns late-round knockout power, Anabel Ortiz (RTD-8), Kanittha Kokietgym (TKO-9) and underrated boxing skills as demonstrated in decision victories over Victoria Argueta (UD-10) and Naoko Shibata (UD-10).
Yamaguchi won the WBA female super-flyweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Tenkai Tsunami defending it successfully twice defeating Judith Rodriguez (UD-10) and Loredana Piazza (TKO-7). In contrast, the more experienced Yamaguchi turned professional in 2001 at the age of twenty-three and doubles Fujioka in rounds boxed (126-60). Although her knockout percentage is slightly higher than Fujioka’s (64.29% — 60%), which is excellent in female boxing, Yamaguchi relies on punch volume more so than one-punch knockout power. Owning an (8-1-1, 5 KOs) record in title fights, Yamaguchi brandishes ring savvy and experience against the versatility and punching power of Fujioka. The height and reach statistics are similar rendering Fujioka’s jump in weight moot. This match-up has all the ingredients as a fight of the year candidate.
|Lamonakis fights for the New York State title|
On November 9 at the Aviator Sports Complex, Brooklyn, New York, Heather “The Heat” Hardy (6-0, 1 KO) will square off against Ana Laura “La Maravilla” Gomez (4-3) Agua Prieta, Mexico, in an eight-round contest for the vacant UBF International super-bantamweight title. Hardy, who recently signed a long-term promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment, will be fighting in her home town of Brooklyn for the first time. Since dispensing with the head gear and larger gloves of the amateur ranks fifteen months ago, Hardy has become a mainstay in the New York City boxing community constructing and ever-growing fan base with her aggressive fan-friendly style. She has been featured in numerous forms of media most recently, The Ring Magazine.
|Hardy faces a tough test from Gomez|
Her opponent, “La Maravilla” Gomez is no stranger to New York previously losing decisions to Patricia “Patty Boom Boom” Alcivar and Keisher McLeod-Wells in the Big Apple. Gomez owns a winning record and in her last bout, won a ten-round decision over an unremarkable opponent.
To date, Gomez is the most skilled opponent Hardy has faced and an obstacle she must overcome to rise to the next level.
David McLeod will be credentialed ringside to cover the fight live for KO Digest.
Three Questions - Sweet Side Q&A with Eva Voraberger
|The Golden Baby|
Q: What prompted you to take up boxing? Do most European female boxers have a background in kickboxing or Thai boxing?
A: I was seventeen and I was a little bit of a bad girl. I'd make problems when I'd go out. My mother said please search for a sport. I found Thai Boxing by Fight Club Graz. I had twenty two fights in Thai boxing and my trainer Victor Kammerhofer said, “Eva I think you're better in boxing.”
Q: On December 7, you defend your WIBF flyweight title in front of your hometown fans in Vienna, Austria. Will there be added pressure fighting in your hometown? What did you learn in your recent title fight with Raja Amasheh that may lend you well in this fight?
A: I only want to fight at hometown. Another place is not important to me. I like it when I can fight at home and I say thank you to all my fans and family. When I walk to the ring I forget all I want is to only fight. I learned very much in the fight against Raja and I train now, my fault, and I want do better in the next fight.
Q: Do you follow the American boxing scene and what other fighters do you follow or emulate?
It is known that you are a fan of Marvin Hagler.
A: Yes, Marvin Hagler was the best boxer. I follow the American boxing because the fights are so good.
My other favorite boxers are Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar De La Hoya.
KO Digest's Dynamite Dozen Pound-for-Pound Ratings:
|Zamora crashes the P4P list with big win over Ava Knight|
2- Erica Farias (18-0, 9 KOs) Argentina
3- Christina Hammer (15-0, 7 KOs) Germany
4- Jessica Chavez (19-3-2, 4 KOs) Mexico
5- Yesica Bopp (25-1, 11 KOs) Argentina
6- Ann Sophie Mathis (27-3 24 KOs) France
7- Marcela Acuna (40-6-1, 17 KOs) Argentina
8- Jelena Mrdjenovich (30-9-1, 15 KOs) Canada
9- Diana Prazak (12-2, 8 KOs) Australia/USA
10- Ibeth Zamora (19-5, 8 KOs) Mexico
11- Ava Knight (12-2-3, 5 KOs) USA
12- Delfine Persoon (26-1, 11 KOs) Belgium
"The Sweet Side of the Sweet Science" is written and compiled by women's boxing expert Mark Jones - exclusively for KO Digest. You can find more of Mark's work on his women's boxing blog: Boxing Jones